The Online Darkroom Store

Friday, February 28

House of Ilford


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Boy at Train Window. Copyright Andrew Sanderson

I promised my friend, Andrew Sanderson, that I'd write something about the House of Ilford, an online gallery where invited photographers can upload files which, when bought by the public, are printed to order on Ilford silver gelatin RC darkroom paper via a Lightjet machine that uses lasers to expose the paper.

That was a wee while ago so this post is overdue. Mind you, Ilford didn't help as I emailed them more than a month ago saying that I wanted to write about the venture and asking them for an update on how it had progressed since the launch. They didn't reply. Maybe they didn't have anything good to say? Who knows. It's not the first time I've tried to get information from Ilford so I could write something about them but, for whatever reason, they don't seem interested in free publicity.

Maybe they think this website isn't big enough to warrant their attention but I don't see too many large outlets for film and darkroom news around nowadays. And I know from my previous post about Ilford Classic and Cooltone paper that I got them as much publicity for these new products in the week or two after their launch as anyone else - and probably more than most.

Enough of my griping - for the time being. Ilford mailed out a new press release yesterday about House of Ilford so I thought this would be a good time to fulfil my pledge to Andrew.

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Chicago River Promenade in Winter. Copyright Dave Butcher

Ilford describes the photographs in the gallery as "inspirational wall art" so that gives you a good idea of the market they're aiming at. They want people who are redecorating and possibly interior designers to buy prints to hang on the wall.

The company said, "We only make room for the best creative and talented photographers, exploring their work and understanding their story. We hand pick only the finest thought provoking pieces to create individual art, for your individual home.

"Customers can browse at leisure the on-line gallery and choose from a selection of quality black and white photo art by exceptional photographers, renowned for their work with monochrome images. Images can be ordered as print only, or in high quality contemporary frames with optically clear glass.

"All prints are made on traditional ILFORD black and white photographic paper. When you have found your individuality, your art is ready for you to develop. A range of sizes are available to choose from in lustre or gloss, framed by hand, and delivered from our door direct to yours".

The last two paragraphs above share many of their words with a similar paragraph on the original press release issued back in November. Now you'd imagine that some three months after launching the scheme, Ilford might have been able to give us a bit more about how it's going rather than a re-write of the original press release, wouldn't you?  Regurgitating the rest of the latest release isn't really going to tell you an awful lot more so it's better to discuss the photographs on the gallery (that's the griping officially over).

The good news is that there are a lot of cracking pics on the House of Ilford site. There are some of Andrew's, including many of his paper negative large format shots and the night shots for which he's rightly well known. It's all excellent stuff and is well displayed on the Ilford website. One of my favourites of Andrew's is at the top of this page. Here's another one:

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Amaryllis and Shadow. Copyright Andrew Sanderson

There are any number of excellent images I could have chosen from the photographers involved to illustrate this post but not all are film photographs from what I can tell. I've ignored the ones that I suspect are digital files - or those by photographers who aren't film only - and posted some of the analogue shots. If you're not biased like I am, then you can check out the digital images yourself! The one below is by Leon Taylor of Filmwaster.com. You've maybe seen some of the wee podcast reviews Leon and his friends do of film cameras?

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Last Light, Crummock Water. Copyright Leon Taylor

Overall, then, there's much that Ilford and the select group of photographers should be pleased about regarding House of Ilford. Most of the prints are affordable at around the £45 to £60 mark for a 10x8. Many would look fantastic mounted on off-white card and in a black frame. If you're in the London area, you can view some of the prints at stand 2N25 at the Ideal Home Show in Earls Court from March 14-30. A selection of framed pictures will also feature in the Ideal Home Magazine Room sets at the show.

It's really good to see Ilford, which is so important in today's film and darkroom market, supporting photographers in this way. It would also be good if they'd show the same support to bloggers. Come on, that wasn't really a gripe!

5 comments :

Andrea Ingram said...

It's a great resource. I've always loved that image of the boy in the train by AndySandy. Half-frame I think and presented in B&W when it was a good mag. Learnt more in one day with Mr Sanderson at his lab than any other time.

Jan Moren said...

Not all of it is my style - decorative more than art, as you say - but the examples you posted are wonderful. I had no idea; Ilford really need to promote all their stuff just a little more.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Yep - no idea this was around either . .
Wonder how photographers are selected . . .

Bruce Robbins said...

I'm not sure, Phil. Some, like Andrew, seem to have an ongoing relationship with Ilford.

Hernan Zenteno said...

I don't like the obscure issue about if this photographers received a payment or not. Hope they are not doing this only for exposure selling fine prints only peanuts.